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Ulysses S. Grant

Birthdate: 27. April 1822
Date of death: 23. July 1885

Ulysses S. Grant was a prominent United States Army general during the American Civil War and Commanding General at the conclusion of that war. He was elected as the 18th President of the United States in 1868, serving from 1869 to 1877. As Commanding General, Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy. After Lincoln's assassination, Grant's assignment in implementing Reconstruction often put him at odds with President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor. Twice elected president, Grant led the Republicans in their effort to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, protect African-American citizenship, and support economic prosperity. Grant's presidency has often been criticized for its scandals and for his failure to alleviate the economic depression following the Panic of 1873, but modern scholarship regards him as a president who performed a difficult job with some merit, and took strong action on civil rights for African Americans.

Grant graduated in 1843 from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the Mexican–American War. After the war, he married Julia Dent in 1848, and together they had four children. Grant retired from the Army in 1854 and struggled financially in civilian life. When the Civil War began in 1861, he rejoined the U.S. Army and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1862, Grant took control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh, earning a reputation as an aggressive commander. In July 1863, after a series of coordinated battles, Grant defeated Confederate armies and seized Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River and dividing the Confederacy in two. After Grant's victories in the Chattanooga Campaign, Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general and Commanding General of the Army in March 1864. Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of bloody battles, trapping Lee's army in their defense of Richmond. Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns in other theaters, as well. In April 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the war. Historians have hailed Grant's military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks, but a minority contend that he won by brute force rather than superior strategy.

With the close of the Civil War, Grant led the army's supervision of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states. Elected president in 1868, he stabilized the nation during that turbulent period, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, briefly used the military to enforce laws in the south and created the Department of Justice while bolstering the Republican Party in the South. Grant also employed the Army to supervise new elections in the South with universal male suffrage. When Blacks in the South came under violent attack from whites, Grant tried to protect them by signing three civil rights acts into law. In 1871, Grant created the first Civil Service Commission, to appease reformers. The Democrats and Liberal Republicans united behind Grant's opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but Grant was reelected by a strong margin. In his second term, the Republican coalitions in the South splintered and were defeated as a faction of white Southern "Redeemers" regained control of Southern state governments using violence, voter fraud, and racist appeal. Although personally regarded as honest, Grant faced charges of corruption in his administration more than any 19th Century president. Grant's Peace Policy with Native Americans was a bold departure, but historians agree that, as with Reconstruction, it ended in failure.

In foreign policy, Grant sought to increase trade and influence while remaining at peace with the world. With Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, he successfully resolved the Alabama claims through the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain. Grant and Fish negotiated a peaceful resolution with Spain over the Virginius Affair. Congress rejected Grant's initiative to annex the Dominican Republic, creating a rift among Republicans. His administration implemented a gold standard and sought to strengthen the dollar. Grant's immediate response to the Panic of 1873 failed to halt a severe industrial depression that produced high unemployment, deflation, and bankruptcies. When Grant left office in 1877, he embarked on a two-year world tour that captured favorable global attention for him and the United States.

In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. Facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major critical and financial success. His death in 1885 prompted an outpouring in support of national unity. Historical assessments of Grant's legacy have varied considerably over the years. His popular reputation focuses on his drinking, which historians agree did not adversely affect his military campaigns. Early historical evaluations were mostly negative about Grant's presidency. Scholars continue to rank his presidency below the average, but modern appreciation for his support for civil rights has helped improve his standing.

„I hope the good feeling inaugurated may continue to the end.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

Conclusion
1880s
Context: I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy; but I feel it within me that it is to be so. The universally kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of the answer to "Let us have peace."
The expression of these kindly feelings were not restricted to a section of the country, nor to a division of the people. They came from individual citizens of all nationalities; from all denominations — the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Jew; and from the various societies of the land — scientific, educational, religious or otherwise. Politics did not enter into the matter at all.
I am not egotist enough to suppose all this significance should be given because I was the object of it. But the war between the States was a very bloody and a very costly war. One side or the other had to yield principles they deemed dearer than life before it could be brought to an end. I commanded the whole of the mighty host engaged on the victorious side. I was, no matter whether deservedly so or not, a representative of that side of the controversy. It is a significant and gratifying fact that Confederates should have joined heartily in this spontaneous move. I hope the good feeling inaugurated may continue to the end.

„I do not pretend to sustain the order.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1860s, Letter to Isaac N. Morris (1868)
Context: I do not pretend to sustain the order. At the time of its publication I was insensed by a reprimand recieved from Washington for permitting acts which the Jews, within my lines, were engaged in.

„The present difficulty, in bringing all parts of the United States to a happy unity and love of country grows out of the prejudice to color. The prejudice is a senseless one, but it exists.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

Memorandum: Reasons why Santo Domingo should be annexed to the United States http://books.google.com/books?id=h2ETxC83sdsC&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=%22and+he+would+soon+receive+such+recognition+as+to+induce+him+to+stay%22&source=bl&ots=0bCUbNud-b&sig=SUGBB2pV8Ob_jR_KTJvQ2kenxKM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=B-9kU7-8DtXesAT_4YGQBA&ved=0CDoQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=%22and%20he%20would%20soon%20receive%20such%20recognition%20as%20to%20induce%20him%20to%20stay%22&f=false (1869-1870?).
1860s
Context: Caste has no foothold in Santo Domingo. It is capable of supporting the entire colored population of the United States, should it choose to emigrate. The present difficulty, in bringing all parts of the United States to a happy unity and love of country grows out of the prejudice to color. The prejudice is a senseless one, but it exists. The colored man cannot be spared until his place is supplied, but with a refuge like San Domingo his worth here would soon be discovered, and he would soon receive such recognition to induce him to stay; or if Providence designed that the two races should not live to-gether he would find his home in the Antilles.

„I suggest for your earnest consideration, and most earnestly recommend it, that a constitutional amendment be submitted to the legislatures of the several States for ratification, making it the duty of each of the several States to establish and forever maintain free public schools adequate to the education of all the children in the rudimentary branches within their respective limits, irrespective of sex, color, birthplace, or religions“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1870s, Seventh State of the Union Address (1875)
Context: As the primary step, therefore, to our advancement in all that has marked our progress in the past century, I suggest for your earnest consideration, and most earnestly recommend it, that a constitutional amendment be submitted to the legislatures of the several States for ratification, making it the duty of each of the several States to establish and forever maintain free public schools adequate to the education of all the children in the rudimentary branches within their respective limits, irrespective of sex, color, birthplace, or religions; forbidding the teaching in said schools of religious, atheistic, or pagan tenets; and prohibiting the granting of any school funds or school taxes, or any part thereof, either by legislative, municipal, or other authority, for the benefit or in aid, directly or indirectly, of any religious sect or denomination, or in aid or for the benefit of any other object of any nature or kind whatever.

„The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1880s
Context: The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence. We have but little to do to preserve peace, happiness and prosperity at home, and the respect of other nations. Our experience ought to teach us the necessity of the first; our power secures the latter.

„Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

This has sometimes been paraphrased: "My failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent".
1870s, Eighth State of the Union Address (1876)
Context: I leave comparisons to history, claiming only that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional, within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.

„The laws and regulations for the apparent abolition of slavery in Cuba and Porto Rico leave most of the laborers in bondage, with no hope of release until their lives become a burden to their employers.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1870s, Third State of the Union Address (1871)
Context: It is a subject for regret that the reforms in this direction which were voluntarily promised by the statesmen of Spain have not been carried out in its West India colonies. The laws and regulations for the apparent abolition of slavery in Cuba and Porto Rico leave most of the laborers in bondage, with no hope of release until their lives become a burden to their employers.

„I have no prejudice against sect or race, but want each individual to be judged by his own merit.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

To Isaac N. Morris (1868), as quoted in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: July 1, 1868–October 31, 1869 https://books.google.com/books?id=JXn2Bq8KpDEC&pg=PA37&dq=%22I+have+no+prejudice+against+sect+or+race,+but+want+each+individual+to+be+judged+by+his+own+merit.%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eucJVYHXK4SxggSXj4S4BQ&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false, by Ulysses S. Grant, p. 37. Also quoted in Grant http://books.google.com/books?id=TssAXSdPTi4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=GrantJean+E.+Smith&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MVrWU7qCI47lsATyroKADg&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=prejudice%20against%20sect&f=false (2001), by Jean Edward Smith, pp. 459–460.
1860s, Letter to Isaac N. Morris (1868)
Context: Give Mister Moses assurances that I have no prejudice against sect or race, but want each individual to be judged by his own merit. Order No. 11 does not sustain this statement, I amidt, but then I do not sustain that order. It never would have been issued if it had not been telegraphed the moment penned, without one moment's reflection.

„I do not sustain that order. It never would have been issued if it had not been telegraphed the moment penned, without one moment's reflection“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

To Isaac N. Morris (1868), as quoted in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: July 1, 1868–October 31, 1869 https://books.google.com/books?id=JXn2Bq8KpDEC&pg=PA37&dq=%22I+have+no+prejudice+against+sect+or+race,+but+want+each+individual+to+be+judged+by+his+own+merit.%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eucJVYHXK4SxggSXj4S4BQ&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false, by Ulysses S. Grant, p. 37. Also quoted in Grant http://books.google.com/books?id=TssAXSdPTi4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=GrantJean+E.+Smith&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MVrWU7qCI47lsATyroKADg&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=prejudice%20against%20sect&f=false (2001), by Jean Edward Smith, pp. 459–460.
1860s, Letter to Isaac N. Morris (1868)
Context: Give Mister Moses assurances that I have no prejudice against sect or race, but want each individual to be judged by his own merit. Order No. 11 does not sustain this statement, I amidt, but then I do not sustain that order. It never would have been issued if it had not been telegraphed the moment penned, without one moment's reflection.

„Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

As quoted in "Campaigning with Grant" http://books.google.com/books?id=Y7TPAAAAMAAJ&q="Oh+I+am+heartily+tired+of+hearing+about+what+Lee+is+going+to+do+Some+of+you+always+seem+to+think+he+is+suddenly+going+to+turn+a+double+somersault+and+land+in+our+rear+and+on+both+of+our+flanks+at+the+same+time+Go+back+to+your+command+and+try+to+think+what+we+are+going+to+do+ourselves+instead+of+what+Lee+is+going+to+do"&pg=PA230#v=onepage (December 1896), by General Horace Porter, The Century Magazine.
1860s
Context: Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.

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„It was my fortune, or misfortune, to be called to the office of Chief Executive without any previous political training.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1870s, Eighth State of the Union Address (1876)
Context: It was my fortune, or misfortune, to be called to the office of Chief Executive without any previous political training. From the age of 17 I had never even witnessed the excitement attending a Presidential campaign but twice antecedent to my own candidacy, and at but one of them was I eligible as a voter.
Under such circumstances it is but reasonable to suppose that errors of judgment must have occurred. Even had they not, differences of opinion between the Executive, bound by an oath to the strict performance of his duties, and writers and debaters must have arisen. It is not necessarily evidence of blunder on the part of the Executive because there are these differences of views. Mistakes have been made, as all can see and I admit...

„Under such circumstances it is but reasonable to suppose that errors of judgment must have occurred.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1870s, Eighth State of the Union Address (1876)
Context: It was my fortune, or misfortune, to be called to the office of Chief Executive without any previous political training. From the age of 17 I had never even witnessed the excitement attending a Presidential campaign but twice antecedent to my own candidacy, and at but one of them was I eligible as a voter.
Under such circumstances it is but reasonable to suppose that errors of judgment must have occurred. Even had they not, differences of opinion between the Executive, bound by an oath to the strict performance of his duties, and writers and debaters must have arisen. It is not necessarily evidence of blunder on the part of the Executive because there are these differences of views. Mistakes have been made, as all can see and I admit...

„There had to be an end of slavery.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

To Otto von Bismarck in June 1878, as quoted in Around the World with General Grant http://www.granthomepage.com/grantslavery.htm (1879), by John Russell Young, The American News Company, New York, vol. 7, p. 416.
1870s
Context: There had to be an end of slavery. Then we were fighting an enemy with whom we could not make a peace. We had to destroy him. No convention, no treaty was possible. Only destruction.

„It is a subject for congratulation that the great Empire of Brazil has taken the initiatory step toward the abolition of slavery. Our relations with that Empire, always cordial, will naturally be made more so by this act.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1870s, Third State of the Union Address (1871)
Context: It is a subject for congratulation that the great Empire of Brazil has taken the initiatory step toward the abolition of slavery. Our relations with that Empire, always cordial, will naturally be made more so by this act. It is not too much to hope that the Government of Brazil may hereafter find it for its interest, as well as intrinsically right, to advance toward entire emancipation more rapidly than the present act contemplates.

„The effects of the late civil strife have been to free the slave and make him a citizen. Yet he is not possessed of the civil rights which citizenship should carry with it. This is wrong, and should be corrected.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1870s, Second Inaugural Address (1873)
Context: The effects of the late civil strife have been to free the slave and make him a citizen. Yet he is not possessed of the civil rights which citizenship should carry with it. This is wrong, and should be corrected. To this correction I stand committed, so far as Executive influence can avail.

„They saw their power waning, and this led them to encroach upon the prerogatives and independence of the Northern States by enacting such laws as the Fugitive Slave Law.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1880s
Context: Slavery was an institution that required unusual guarantees for its security wherever it existed; and in a country like ours where the larger portion of it was free territory inhabited by an intelligent and well-to-do population, the people would naturally have but little sympathy with demands upon them for its protection. Hence the people of the South were dependent upon keeping control of the general government to secure the perpetuation of their favorite institution. They were enabled to maintain this control long after the States where slavery existed had ceased to have the controlling power, through the assistance they received from odd men here and there throughout the Northern States. They saw their power waning, and this led them to encroach upon the prerogatives and independence of the Northern States by enacting such laws as the Fugitive Slave Law. By this law every Northern man was obliged, when properly summoned, to turn out and help apprehend the runaway slave of a Southern man. Northern marshals became slave-catchers, and Northern courts had to contribute to the support and protection of the institution.

„As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1860s, First State of the Union Address (1869)
Context: As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation, in the quarrels between different nations or between governments and their subjects. Our course should always be in conformity with strict justice and law, international and local.

„Military rule would have been just to all, to the negro who wanted freedom“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

In China, p. 362.
1870s
Context: Looking back over the whole policy of reconstruction, it seems to me that the wisest thing would have been to have continued for some time the military rule. Sensible Southern men see now that there was no government so frugal, so just, and fair as what they had under our generals. That would have enabled the Southern people to pull themselves together and repair material losses. As to depriving them, even for a time, of suffrage, that was our right as a conqueror, and it was a mild penalty for the stupendous crime of treason. Military rule would have been just to all, to the negro who wanted freedom, the white man who wanted protection, the northern man who wanted Union. As state after state showed a willingness to come into the Union, not on their own terms but upon ours, I would have admitted them. This would have made universal suffrage unnecessary, and I think a mistake was made about suffrage. It was unjust to the negro to throw upon him the responsibilities of citizenship, and expect him to be on even terms with his white neighbor. It was unjust to the north. In giving the south negro suffrage, we have given the old slave-holders forty votes in the electoral college. They keep those votes, but disfranchise the negroes. That is one of the gravest mistakes in the policy of reconstruction. It looks like a political triumph for the south, but it is not. The southern people have nothing to dread more than the political triumph of the men who led them into secession. That triumph was fatal to them in 1860. It would be no less now. The trouble about military rule in the south was that our people did not like it. It was not in accordance with our institutions. I am clear now that it would have been better for the north to have postponed suffrage, reconstruction, state governments, for ten years, and held the south in a territorial condition. It was due to the north that the men who had made war upon us should be powerless in a political sense forever. It would have avoided the scandals of the state governments, saved money, and enabled the northern merchants, farmers, and laboring men to reorganize society in the south. But we made our scheme, and must do what we can with it. Suffrage once given can never be taken away, and all that remains for us now is to make good that gift by protecting those who have received it.

„Treat the negro as a citizen and a voter, as he is and must remain, and soon parties will be divided, not on the color line, but on principle.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1870s, Sixth State of the Union Address (1874)
Context: Under existing conditions the negro votes the Republican ticket because he knows his friends are of that party. Many a good citizen votes the opposite, not because he agrees with the great principles of state which separate parties, but because, generally, he is opposed to negro rule. This is a most delusive cry. Treat the negro as a citizen and a voter, as he is and must remain, and soon parties will be divided, not on the color line, but on principle. Then we shall have no complaint of sectional interference.

„The South claimed the sovereignty of States, but claimed the right to coerce into their confederation such States as they wanted, that is, all the States where slavery existed. They did not seem to think this course inconsistent. The fact is, the Southern slave-owners believed that, in some way, the ownership of slaves conferred a sort of patent of nobility—a right to govern independent of the interest or wishes of those who did not hold such property. They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves.“

—  Ulysses S. Grant

1880s
Context: The winter of 1860-1 will be remembered by middle-aged people of to-day as one of great excitement. South Carolina promptly seceded after the result of the Presidential election was known. Other Southern States proposed to follow. In some of them the Union sentiment was so strong that it had to be suppressed by force. Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri, all Slave States, failed to pass ordinances of secession; but they were all represented in the so-called congress of the so-called Confederate States. The Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri, in 1861, Jackson and Reynolds, were both supporters of the rebellion and took refuge with the enemy. The governor soon died, and the lieutenant-governor assumed his office; issued proclamations as governor of the State; was recognized as such by the Confederate Government, and continued his pretensions until the collapse of the rebellion. The South claimed the sovereignty of States, but claimed the right to coerce into their confederation such States as they wanted, that is, all the States where slavery existed. They did not seem to think this course inconsistent. The fact is, the Southern slave-owners believed that, in some way, the ownership of slaves conferred a sort of patent of nobility—a right to govern independent of the interest or wishes of those who did not hold such property. They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves.

Ch. 16.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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